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A project that makes a difference

Build-in-Wood has proven its worth once again (after the selection for the New European Bauhaus) and has been seled as one of the projects making a significant contribution to the Zero Pollution Action Plan.

This report provides a brief overview of the contribution of selected Horizon 2020 projects to the zero pollution action plan. It identifies new projects and Horizon Europe partnerships in the pipeline and raises awareness about the five EU missions and their contribution to achieving the zero pollution ambition. The report highlights the importance of making research findings accessible to a wider audience to inform policymakers, citizens and other stakeholders, thus creating more value and better solutions from knowledge.

What is the Zero Pollution Action Plan?

The zero pollution vision for 2050 is for air, water and soil pollution to be reduced to levels no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems, that respect the boundaries with which our planet can cope, thereby creating a toxic-free environment.

This is translated into key 2030 targets to speed up reducing pollution at source. These targets include:

  • improving air quality to reduce the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution by 55%;

  • improving water quality by reducing waste, plastic litter at sea (by 50%) and microplastics released into the environment (by 30%);

  • improving soil quality by reducing nutrient losses and chemical pesticides’ use by 50%;

  • reducing by 25% the EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity;

  • reducing the share of people chronically disturbed by transport noise by 30%, and

  • significantly reducing waste generation and by 50% residual municipal waste.

What role does Build-in-Wood play?

Under the flagship of zero pollution solutions for buildings, the Commission showcases in the report how building projects can contribute to zero pollution objectives. Build-in-Wood seeks to examine ways of minimising harmful emissions in the construction sector by optimising the use of environmentally conscious construction resources. The project proposes a sustainable and innovative wood value chain for the construction of multi-storey wood buildings.

  • Build-in-Wood has established a network of seven early adopter cities from different regions of Europe for open exchange and co-design activities to draw up new policies, uptake strategies and action plans for multi-storey wood construction practices.

  • Each of the cities has developed its own specific path to support further development through wood construction, tackling the challenges of (1) increased urbanisation, population growth and the resulting growing demand for new buildings, (2) an increased regulatory focus on sustainable construction and decreasing the greenhouse gas emissions of the construction sector, (3) the trend to build more vertically, (4) ensuring a competent, trainable workforce, and (5) the availability of wood resources and wood-processing industries and encouraging other positive trends in construction and/or forestry such as increased wages, higher employment rates, lower staff turnover, more personnel and more companies.

  • Each pathway considers not only the policy framework but also the context of the city (i.e. spatial, social, economic and administrative data), which is key to achieving the desired transferability and replicability of wood construction.

The action plan aims to strengthen the EU green, digital and economic leadership, whilst creating a healthier, socially fairer Europe and planet. It provides a compass to mainstream pollution prevention in all relevant EU policies, to step up implementation of the relevant EU legislation and to identify possible gaps. Therefore, continuous innovative regulatory, technological and social responses from business, society and policy makers are needed.


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